Physical and virtual store: how to integrate and increase sales

Physical and virtual store: how to integrate and increase sales

Physical store or virtual store? Does the entrepreneur need to choose only one of the options, or can he unite these two worlds and benefit from both ways?

Since e-commerce became popular, many people in retail — who already had a traditional establishment — began to question whether (or not) they should close their physical store and invest their efforts solely in an online store .

There are those who chose to keep only the physical establishment, while others focused on working only with e-commerce . However, there is a portion of entrepreneurs who saw the internet as an opportunity to reach more customers and boost their sales.

After all, why invest in just one business niche, when it is possible to unite the two worlds — physical and digital — and guarantee even more interesting results?

In this article, see the advantages of maintaining a physical store and an online store at the same time, which companies have already reaped good results with this strategy and how you can be successful in combining stores through 4 tips.

Physical store and virtual store: what are they and how do they work?

Before we show the benefits of uniting the two worlds, it is very important that we understand the concept behind a physical store and a virtual store.

What is a physical store?

A physical store is nothing more than a physical commercial establishment where the public or potential customer can visit the company’s premises. As it is an open space, you can view the products, interact with sellers and make purchases in person .

Physical stores can be distributed in different locations and in the most different formats. For example: it can be located inside a shopping mall , take the form of a traditional store or a kiosk, or be distributed in branches throughout various regions of the city.

What is an online store?

The virtual store, on the other hand, is a digital space where the public or the customer themselves can also view the products and services delivered by the company, and finalize their purchases. The difference is that, in this case, the processes will be carried out using a device connected to the internet .

For example: if the customer wants to search for information about a certain product, he will need to enter the online store to check the photos and characteristics of the item instead of asking a salesperson directly.

Main differences between physical store and virtual store

The first point that differentiates a physical store and an online store is location. The physical store has a physical address, where the customer has the possibility of going to the establishment to make purchases. The online store has an electronic address, known as a link, where the customer can access and check the products through tablets, computers, smartphones or any other device.

Product availability

In the physical store, the company often needs to limit the number of items for sale because it does not have a large space to keep stock , while in the online store there is the option for the entrepreneur to offer an infinite catalog of products.


In the physical store, customer service is more humanized because there is direct contact with the sellers, while in the online store the company needs to resort to chatbots, email, telephone or any other digital means of communication to maintain dialogue with the customer.

Many companies rely on writing professionals to plan and write communications in the most humanized way possible, simulating a face-to-face service. This way, it is possible to have contact between company and customer that is less robotic and impersonal.

Maintenance costs

In the physical establishment, the company needs to bear monthly costs for rent, payroll, water, electricity, energy, among others. While in the online store, you only need to worry about having good tools to maintain control of your logistics operations and data security. Furthermore, the number of employees may be slightly smaller, depending on the size of the company and the number of demands.


In the physical store, the customer needs to travel to visit the space and purchase products and services. However, in the online store there is no such limitation. He can access the catalog of items from anywhere in the world, within his own home or work.


As transactions on the internet are done digitally, the online store needs to invest even more in security than in a physical store. After all, much of customers’ personal and banking information needs to be saved within the online store’s own domain.

What are the advantages of a physical store?

Each business model has advantages and disadvantages, but it is important for the company to evaluate the differences that both the physical store and the online store can bring to the brand.

In the case of a physical store, the advantages are:

Personalized service

The company can provide a more exclusive service because there is direct contact with the public. Sellers can monitor customer behavior in real time as they visit the store, also ask questions and, based on the answers, instruct the consumer until closing the deal.

Sensory experience

In the physical store there is also the advantage of providing an experience that stands out from the usual, through visual merchandising . Through the play of colors, lights, sounds and even product layout, the company can deliver an environment that really captivates the consumer , encourages him to make the purchase and return in the near future.

Customer loyalty

Due to personalized service and sensory experiences, it is possible to retain customers much more easily. Thus, if the company has good salespeople, delivers quality products and services, and has good sales strategies, the consumer can be won over in the first contact or visit .

And what are the advantages of the virtual store?

Just like the physical store, the online store also offers very interesting advantages for the company. Therefore, they deserve and need to be considered:

Global reach

As the virtual store operates on the internet, there are no barriers or access limitations. The company can reach a large number of people at the same time without much effort. This makes it possible to spread the brand , greater recognition and potential increase in sales .

cost reduction

Another advantage of the virtual store is that investments and maintenance costs are much lower. The company does not need to pay rent or other normal expenses of a physical store. You can generate more savings and direct these resources to marketing and customer attraction strategies.


In addition to the global reach and cost reduction, the virtual store is also interesting for providing greater flexibility for the entrepreneur and the customer . Anyone who wants to access the product catalog can do so easily, using their smartphone, and the same goes for store staff who want to monitor orders, sales or even stock.

E-commerce challenges

Like any type of business, e-commerce also has challenges and perhaps that is why many companies are unsure whether opening an online store is really an interesting alternative.

The main challenges of e-commerce include:


By reaching more people, the company may have to improve (and a lot) its logistics . It is necessary to ensure that suppliers will have products available in stock, delivery services are efficient and the reverse logistics process also works.

Customer service

With a greater number of people, the company also needs to invest in customer service to ensure that each customer will receive the necessary support at the right time. Service is one of the points that counts most in customer satisfaction . The company cannot, under any circumstances, ignore it.

Data security and protection

In e-commerce, all commercial transactions take place digitally, so the company will need to comply with all current laws aimed at data security and protection . Not only that, invest in reliable platforms and cutting-edge technologies that guarantee the security of customer information.

Challenges of commerce in physical stores

Just like virtual stores, commerce in physical stores can also be challenging. After all, there are still many strong companies operating in the market, and now there is also simultaneous competition with e-commerce.

Among these, other challenges of operating in traditional commerce include:

Operational costs

Maintaining a physical establishment requires more operating costs, such as rent, taxes, maintenance and inventory, and depending on the volume of monthly bills, this can reduce profit considerably.

Changing consumer behavior

Another challenge is related to consumer behavior . With the advancement of technology and the popularization of smartphones, the customer has become much more immediate and demanding in terms of what he consumes. He wants practicality when choosing products and finalizing the purchase, and due to the need to travel, the physical store still does not provide this.

Adaptation to technologies

Adapting to technologies is also challenging in physical stores because there is still a culture that operations do not require investments in software and other tools for commercial automation . Therefore, both the company and the team can become stuck in outdated methods.

Combining physical and virtual stores: how can this benefit your business?

The combination of a physical and virtual store may require a little more work on the part of management and staff. However, this should never be seen as a barrier. The benefits arising from this union are very favorable, and can enrich the company both financially and in terms of brand authority .

For example, by combining a physical and virtual store, the company can reach a wider audience than if it invested only in one of the modalities. It starts serving customers who like to shop at traditional establishments, but also those who prefer and give priority to e-commerce.

The combination of the two stores can also bring more convenience to the consumer, since the company allows the clientele to buy the goods based on their preferences at the moment. If you want to visit the store to check out the product in person, you can. If you prefer to purchase the item from the comfort of your home, at 11pm on Friday, that too.

It is also worth mentioning that the combination of a physical store and a virtual store can positively impact marketing strategies . In the digital environment, the company is able to collect data on its sales and consumer behavior, and based on current and truthful information, define smarter actions to reach the right audience, reinforce brand positioning and increase customer satisfaction. .


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